BULLET SEATING – GET THE RING OUT
Handloader|December - January 2020
PRACTICAL HANDLOADING
Rick Jamison

There is nothing like the feeling of gazing on a new box of shining bullets that are perfectly formed with polished surfaces unblemished by human touch. Handloaders are almost giddy with anticipation of how the exquisite gems will perform, and can hardly wait to pull a loaded round out of a seating die to admire the full cartridge. Suddenly, the future is marred by the sight of an ugly scratch or indent plowed around the tip!

The first thought comes in four letters and the next ones are not good. Will the indent affect bullet flight? Will it degrade ballistic coefficient? Could it cause broken petals on expansion? When recovered from the big downer, thoughts go to why it happened and how to prevent it.

One cause of the ring could be lack of an inside case mouth chamfer. This causes a lot of resistance in starting a bullet base into a case mouth, often scraping off some bullet jacket as well. Remember to chamfer new brass and even once-fired factory cases. One exception is Nosler brass, because it comes already chamfered.

The cutting angle on your chamfer tool could be too abrupt for your bullet, again requiring too much force to start it into a case neck. Chamfering tools come with different cutting angles. One is for conventional bullets and another cuts a shallower angle for starting VLD-type bullets.

Another cause for the circular mark could be a case neck and mouth sized too small. Case neck bushing dies are available in .001inch increments from Redding, Hornady, RCBS and Forster, which allow controlling the amount of neck diameter reduction. Redding recommends .002 inch of neck tension. That means sizing a case neck so that it’s unloaded outside diameter (OD) is .002 inch less than the diameter of a neck with a seated bullet. If your sized case necks (without a bullet) are more than .003 or .004 inch under, it could be a problem.

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